How to dispose of inherited belongings

jockewingJuly 16, 2010

My grandmother recently passed and left me her home and all its contents. I plan to sell the home, but I want to know the best way to sell the contents. I will keep some things for sentimental reasons, but there is a nice maple dining set and some nice bedroom furniture.

I thought I might have a garage sale for household items and small furniture, but I think I can sell some of the nicer furniture individually at better than "garage sale" prices.

What should I do? This is all so overwhelming!

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Check out consignment stores for the really good pieces. And you may have to look a few hundred miles away to get the good pices. but you share the prices with the store. At least the furniture goes to "a good home" or someone who will love it. You can also try the usual online stuff like Craig's list (your local version) or eBay (but watch about shipping larger items).

I have dining room furniture that I got form my mothe, and I'll have to drag it about 100 miles to get to the best source for a buyer. It's a specialized market, but I am serious about wanting it to "go to a good home".

So you balance the sentimental value vs the cheapo garage sale prices and make up your mind how you want to go.

For me, it's easy--- I want it to go to someone who will love it! YMMV

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 11:52PM
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My condolences for your loss of your GrandMom.

For selling used stuff (even the finest of high quality, and/or great antiques)....

Good weekend! ;~)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 11:52PM
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Around here, people usually take one of two routes...
public auction (estate sale) or consignment.

The auctions seem to make more money than they'd get on Craig's list, etc.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:44PM
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The consignment will give you the most money for the special things but it may take longer. There are companies that do estate sales rather than estate auctions. There seem to be two types of companies. One prices the things at reasonable prices starting the first day. The other one, I would beware of, tends to have weekend sales. They put high prices on the desirable pieces. Normally on Saturday they lower the prices to what the items should have sold at. On Sunday they will have a half price or less sale but by the time the sale opens will have either raised the prices or over night had a really good offer and sold the prices to a person that runs a store. Not necessarily stating that this is bad but a friend of mine used one of these and after the sale talked about how little the really expensive pieces of oak/cherry/ and walnut furniture brought. I did not tell her that the dining room set was for sale at prices that would total almost $20K the first couple of days when the final selling price was less than a thousand for everything.

I would suggest using a auction company than has a consignment sale store where you could place the really nice items then auction the rest.

Something to mention if you have not cleaned out the closets is that many people put things in the pockets of clothing for safe keeping or if there is a way into the attic in the closet will place things there normally just out of arms reach. If your grandmother had jewelry that was special this is where she probably placed the items. Others can give suggestions on where to look. Different areas of the house seems to have been used by different age groups, frig, cupboard, stairwell to basement etc. Hopefully you will find many things that your grandmother valued the most in a hidey hole. But remember the value was what she saw in the item and may not have any money value.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 8:49PM
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If you want to get the most money, you should sell it your self - piece by piece. Smaller things can go on ebay or craigs list. Larger items can go to a consignment shop.

Personally, I would never go that route though unless the house is full of high value antiques etc. It will drag on forever - especially if anything has sentimental attachments. There are companies that specialize in estate sales. They will come in, organize and ticket everything, and hold a big sale. It is SOOOOO much easier than holding a garage sale and you will likely end up with more money too.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:00AM
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If you post the photos of the dining and bedroom sets on the Home Decorating forum, you will get an idea of whether they are worth taking to a consignment shop or just posting on craigslist. Sadly good maple and even mahogany furniture isn't in demand these days.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Think realistically about how much time and effort you want to invest in disposing of things. How many strangers do you want in the home pawing and haggling over stuff? How much are you willing to wait around for Craig's List responders to show up?

As nice as things may be, used furniture is still used furniture. Sentiment has no dollar value.

I'm with billl on the estate sales idea - we used that route on the estate of an aunt. But we didn't wait for any auction; we had the estate people appraise and buy the contents outright. We got a check and they cleared out the home right down to vacuuming the floors, locking the door and bringing us the key when they were through. Could we have squeezed out a few more pennies by driving ourselves nuts piece-mealing? Maybe, but our time is valuable too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 9:36AM
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I agree that an estate sale is the way to go. We didn't do that for numerous reasons (not the least of which was distance), but I have been kicking myself ever since. I should have taken the time off in order to arrange it and be there. Now, our two-car garage is filled with "stuff" that I can't sell and don't want. Hate to do it, but will probably end up throwing a lot away. Lesson learned!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Additionally, you probably don't have the time or energy to deal with things piece by piece and put them up for sale on E-Bay, monitor the E-Bay site, pack and ship, deal with returns, etc. etc., Better to first offer the rest of the family any items - sentimental or not, THEN, go the estate auction route. Shop around for percentage cuts as they vary. However, since times are hard all the way around, you maybe able to negotiate for a better percentage. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 7:57PM
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